For some reason, I didn’t link to this when it was posted Wednesday. Thanks to Creg for reminding me. Summary:
Andruw’s defense is slipping; Gary Sheffield doesn’t strike out much for a power hitter; and John Smoltz is making the Eck comparisons work more and more. A note about the second element… That’s true of the Braves in general so far this year. The team is second in homers and second in slugging, but only three teams have struck out less. (Actually, it’s even more extreme for the Cardinals, who lead the league in slugging and have –by far — the fewest strikeouts.)
Also, Bill James had a chat on ESPN yesterday, and he doesn’t agree with his former assistant Rob Neyer about the Braves’ chances:
Chipper Jones, Atlanta, GA: Who do you think will win the NL East? Are the Braves as good as they have looked the past month? Or is their win-loss record flukey? Afterall, their Pythagoros suggests that they are +6 in wins right now.
Bill James: I think the Braves will win the division. I know people were saying their run is over, but they were saying that three years ago, four, five. I don’t see it. They still look to me like the best team in the group.
James also feels that Andruw is still the best defensive player in baseball.